I'm having severe pain in my left rib cage with shortness of breath. I'm coughing up phlegm and in terrible pain, along with feeling short of breath despite being on oxygen at night. What could it be? Is this a medical emergency?
We have seen a number of patients with a prolonged respiratory illness characterized by severe coughing spasms with production of significant amounts of mucus. In most cases the cause is a virus, but with symptoms that just seem to go on forever, doctors are compelled to go further, using medication to suppress the cough, dry the secretions, reduce the inflammation (steroids), and even resort to broad spectrum antibiotics. The essence of time seems to be the best cure.
Having said all of the above, if a patient has the symptoms as described without improvement, then further evaluation should be considered to be sure there is no treatable cause that might be overlooked. A chest x-ray will be helpful in detecting pneumonia (viral and bacterial), collapsed lung, or other major intra-thoracic problems.
The pain you are experiencing is from a bruised or cracked rib, or a separation of the cartilage from the rib itself. This is caused by your severe cough. Bracing yourself with a pillow, thus immobilizing that portion of the chest wall will help during cough spells. A heating pad (not too hot) and ibuprofen for the pain will also be helpful. This discomfort will take weeks to clear.
So be sure to follow up with your doctor for further evaluation, if necessary, and get the results of the studies done so far.
Here are some articles you might find useful:
What Can You Do If You Get the Flu?
8 Signs You Should See a Doctor About a Cold
10 Ways Your Cell Phone Can Make You Sick
It sounds like you are talking about my symptoms! Hurts under left rib - also pain radiates from under my arm-pit into my chest and up the side of my neck. Bent down yesterday and intense pain around my sternum... Hurt like blazes to get myself into bed for awhile. Have been for stress test last week and they tried to bring on my symptoms (nothing happened). Tomorrow I go for radio active material being injected to see how the blood goes into and out of my heart, at rest. I then skip a day and they inject me again with another stress test. During acute attacks, TUMS seem to help a little.....Good luck with your search. If we keep in touch, maybe we will be able to help one another as to what is being done for each of us. If anyone has any further ideas, please let us know.
Many thanks in advance,
I HAVE THESE EXACT SYMPTOMS, WITH THE ADDITION OF PINK SPUTUM BEING COUGHED UP. EVERYTIME I VISIT THE ER FOR ASTHMA, I INQUIRE AS TO WHAT IS CAUSING THIS. THE DOCTORS RESPOND IN A DISMISSIVE MANNER AND I AM VERY FRUSTRATED. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR ALMOST A YEAR NOW AND I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW A PERSON CAN HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS AND COUGH UP PINK (PRESENCE OF BLOOD) SPUTUM AND DOCTORS NOT RESPOND WITH SOME SENSE OF URGENCY. I AM IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO OBTAIN MEDICAL INSURANCE IN ORDER TO SEE A SPECIALIST. I JUST HOPE I DON'T SEE A MORTICIAN FIRST.
febuary 13th 2009 at 8:20pm i was laying in bed watching tv. all of a sudden it felt like someone stuck a flaming knife into the left side of my ribcage. i layed there for 20 mins hoping it would go away. it didn't so i asked my wife to take me to the ER (not something i would ask) in the last 23 months i've seen at least 30 doctors (shuffled from one clueless ****** to the next) i've been poked, prodded, stabbed, xrayed, triple phase bone scanned, MRI'd, CT'd, echo'd, stress tested, offended and commited. but still nobody can tell me why my chest hurts. to be honest with you i really don't think they give a damn. breathing hurts, stretching hurts, it doesn't matter what i do. it'll hurt just as bad laying in bed as it does mowing the lawn ect. i've taken everything they've told me to and done everything they've said, i really don't want to feel this way anymore. it's tough going thru life wishing your next breath could be your last.